“Your Land/My Land: Election ’12” is an installation by artist Jonathan Horowitz to coincide with the 2012 American presidential election season. The exhibition will be staged simultaneously at art museums across the US. It will be on view at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston from September 28-November 11, 2012 with an election eve viewing party on November 6, beginning at 6:30PM and ending when a candidate is elected president.
“Your Land/My Land: Election ’12” is a reimagined installation originally presented by Horowitz during the 2008 presidential election. At each location (as in ’08), red and blue area rugs will divide the exhibition space into opposing zones, reflecting America’s color-coded, political, and cultural divide. Back-to-back monitors will be suspended between the carpets, with one broadcasting a live feed of Fox News, the other of MSNBC. The installation will provide a location for people to gather and watch coverage of as well as talk about the presidential election. Its central trope is a divided United States swathed in only red and blue.
At CAMH the installation will be in the Cullen Educational Resource Room, a dedicated space in which people already regularly gather to discuss the art and societal issues and how they relate to the social issues of the day.
The text “Your Land/My Land” will be on one of the walls under the room’s only window, referencing This Land is Your Land by Woody Guthrie, which originally addressed the issue of land ownership. According to Horowitz, “If race and gender were the defining themes of the ’08 election, economic policy and economic disparity will likely be the defining themes of the 2012 election. To some, museums are decidedly blue – elitist bastions of liberalism – to others, they are lynchpins of a capitalist art market analogous to other capitalist markets that have been collapsing around us.”
When “Your Land/My Land” opens, a portrait of President Obama, as the current representative of all Americans, will hang from the ceiling between the two sides and a portrait of Mitt Romney will sit on the floor. On election night, each venue will host an election eve viewing party, with the installation becoming a minimalist backdrop. If Obama wins, the position of the two portraits will remain the same. Should Obama be unseated, their positions will be switched.
The installation will be customized for each particular museum and attention will be drawn to the role that cultural institutions can play in a democracy. CAMH Director Bill Arning states, “It is particularly critical that there be a high-profile Texas venue as the state is the size of many small countries and has played a huge role in American politics in recent decades. We are confident that museum goers in Houston cross all ideological and political boundaries, and CAMH can once again demonstrate that we are a safe space to discuss difficult and complex issues.”
Horowitz, in addition, is mounting a website www.yourlandmyland.us as another platform for political discourse not bound by region. People are invited to post comments, and the website is accessible at each museum to link the different locations in real-time.
About the Artist
Since the early 1990s, Horowitz has made art that combines the imagery and ambivalence of Pop Art with the engaged criticality of conceptualism. Often based on popular commercial sources, his work examines the deep-seated links between consumerism and political consciousness, as well as the political silences of postwar art. Recent solo exhibitions include Minimalist Works from the Holocaust Museum, Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland (2010), Apocalypto Now, Museum Ludwig, Cologne (2009), and the retrospective exhibition, And/Or, P.S.1, New York (2009).
The Museum receives support for its education programs from: Anonymous, Louise D. Jamail. Mr. and Mrs. I.H. Kempner III, Kinder Morgan Foundation, Robert and Pearl Wallis Knox Foundation, Leticia Loya, Elisabeth McCabe, M.D. Anderson Foundation, Marian and Speros Martel Foundation Endowment, Mark and Mary Ann Miller, Texas Commission on the Arts, Texas Women for the Arts, Ms. Louisa Stude Sarofim, Martha Claire Tompkins, and Elizabeth Satel Young.
Teen Council is supported by Ms. Louisa Stude Sarofim, Texas Women for the Arts and Texas Commission on the Arts.
Funding for the Museum’s operations through the Fund for the Future is made possible by generous grants from Chinhui Juhn and Eddie Allen, Anonymous, Jo and Jim Furr, Barbara and Michael Gamson, Brenda and William Goldberg, Mr. and Mrs. I.H. Kempner III, Leticia Loya and Fayez Sarofim.
The Museum’s operations and programs are made possible through the generosity of the Museum’s trustees, patrons, members and donors. The Contemporary Arts Museum Houston receives partial operating support from the Houston Endowment, the City of Houston through the Houston Museum District Association, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Texas Commission on the Arts, and The Wortham Foundation, Inc. CAMH also thanks its artist benefactors for their support including Anonymous, Leonardo Drew, Tim Gardner, Oliver Herring, Jim Hodges, Michael Ricci Albenda, Anonymous, McArthur Binion, Brendan Cass, Mel Chin, Leonardo Drew, Tim Gardner, Robert Gober, Wayne Gonzales, Oliver Herring, Jim Hodges, Michael Joo, Kurt Kauper, Jon Kessler, Terence Koh, Sean Landers, Zoe Leonard, Marilyn Minter, Donald Moffett, Ernesto Neto, Roxy Paine, Laurie Simmons, Josh Smith, Marc Swanson, and William Wegman.
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